No significant chemical discharge from US Steel spill

The agency closed the national lakeshore's West Beach and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk beach sites Tuesday following the spill at U.S. Steel's Portage, Indiana, plant.

A spill at a U.S. Steel plant in northern in that sent wastewater containing a potentially carcinogenic chemical into a Lake Michigan tributary was apparently caused by a pipe failure, but testing has found none of that toxic substance in the lake, the company and federal officials said Wednesday.

US Steel, now facing significant fines for violation of the Clean Air Act, reported a spill of wastewater into a waterway just 100 yards from Lake Michigan earlier this week.

So far, the United States Environmental Protection Agency reports no evidence any of the chemical, a toxic byproduct of industrial processes, has been found in the lake.

Chicago's water remains safe to drink after a chemical spill in a tributary of Lake Michigan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday. The agency said it reviewed the restart plan, as did the National Park Service, which closed three beaches at nearby Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.


Ogden Dunes officials closed their beach as a precaution, and Indiana American Water shut down its intake, relying on its Gary plant instead.

The National Park Service has closed beaches around a chemical spill on Lake Michigan Thursday, April 13, 2017. The company settled with the US Department of Justice, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the states of IN and IL.

The EPA expects to start receiving results Friday from about 200 water samples it has collected following the Tuesday spill, spokeswoman Rachel Bassler said.

The walking trails at Cowles Bog, however, do remain open to the public, NPS added. "Park staff is concerned with potential impacts to both beach users' health and long-term harm to wildlife and other park resources".

After deadline on Wednesday-some 24 hours after the spill-USS released its own statement about the incident.


Earlier in the week, the Portage US steel plant leaked Hexavalent chromium into Burns waterway.

Those steps included "the isolation and fix of the damaged pipe, recovery of material, and the addition of a water treatment compound, sodium trithiocarbonate, to the wastewater treatment plant to convert and aid in the removal of hexavalent chromium".

"Overnight and throughout the morning, U. S. Steel continued extensive testing on the repairs made at our Midwest Plant and continues to monitor environmental compliance with all of our systems".

Hexavalent chromium has been linked to a variety of illnesses when inhaled, including lung cancer.

US Steel will be required to fix the system at its Portage plant, and to clean it; the progress on that will be monitored by the EPA, writes the Chicago Tribune. The resulting legal action against the utility-dramatized in the film Erin Brockovich-resulted in a $333-million settlement.



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